There are a lot of articles out there telling you how to make your site “Digg-proof” or at least resistant to the likelihood of going down or getting shut down by your host. This article is all about what’s actually going to happen when you hit Digg, and provides some real numbers based on what happened to me when one of my sites did it in 2009.
- If it hits Digg, it may hit Reddit and other sites capable of sending 20k or more. You should expect about 100k from Digg, and additional 20ks from various other sites. I got about 300k altogether.
- My traffic storm took almost 250 GBs of bandwidth. If you don’t have a huge hosting package that will take that kind of a beating, you need a host who is almost as concerned about keeping your site running as you are. They are out there: when you’re shopping for hosts, ask them what their policy is with traffic spikes. They either shut the site down, or they work with you to upgrade your plan, charge you overage fees, etc.
- But it’s not just the bandwidth. On a shared server, your Dugg site could start running the whole server into the ground. Most hosts will not hesitate to shut you down if that happens. Be proactive and email them to let them know what’s happening, and that you’re ready and waiting to do anything they ask. They may recommend small software changes that will help until the traffic dies down. The more cooperative you are, the more likely they are
- Get your stats together. If you want to be able to track it with Google Analytics or a third-party stats package that’s better than AwStats, don’t delay having that in place. If your AwStats only updates once a day, like most hosting packages do, you can get 80k new visitors before you even realize anything’s happened. (And the first 10k show up within the first half-hour – that’s how fast it moves.) Do not use a resource hogging stats script. For example, most WordPress plugins that give you stats use far more server resources than they’re worth, particularly in a Digg effect situation.
- Do not assume it can’t happen because your site’s new. Mine was two months old when it got Dugg. Make all your preparation now, before you start posting content. It’s pretty rare for a brand new site to get Dugg, but if it happens, you’ll miss out if you’re not prepared!
- After the Digg event is over, your traffic probably will not dwindle back to pre-Digg numbers, so you may need to invest in better hosting. My site that got Dugg dwindled down to a good 10 times its previous amount of traffic. The thing is, people still find that same post that got Dugg worthy of linking to and passing on.
Originally published Feb. 9, 2009; substantially rewritten and published Sep. 15, 2010.